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'Is he still alive, or long since dead?' Loss, absence and remembrance in Nuremberg, 1945–1956

Gregor, N. (2003) 'Is he still alive, or long since dead?' Loss, absence and remembrance in Nuremberg, 1945–1956 German History, 21, (2), pp. 183-203. (doi:10.1191/0266355403gh280oa).

Record type: Article


This article uses the search for the 'missing' Wehrmacht soldiers in the 1950s as a prism through which to explore the ways in which we might insert the notion of trauma into our understanding of West Germany's status as a postwar society. In seeking to point out the connections between the ways in which 'ordinary Germans' suffered during and after the war on the one hand, and the inability of post-war West German society to 'confront' the crimes of the past on the other, it argues that the traumatizing impact of war has to be considered alongside the ideological and political necessities of the Cold War and reconstruction if we are to understand why West German society failed to place the Holocaust at the centre of its memorial culture in the immediate post-war years. Moreover, in pointing to the Lutheran church as a key site of memorial politics in the post-war era, it argues for the integration of a study of religious narratives, mentalities and discourses into an understanding of the evolution of the commemorative practices of the 1950s which has hitherto been shaped by an excessively one-sided focus on secular sites and narratives.

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Published date: 2003


Local EPrints ID: 12183
ISSN: 0266-3554
PURE UUID: 54c769e4-1d33-4af4-bbbf-ff685773f203

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Date deposited: 27 Sep 2005
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 17:03

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